Do you ever feel so overwhelmed that you’re tempted to just hide in your room all day? Guys, it happens to all of us. Life isn’t easy. Yes, it’s beautiful, but it also has moments of complete and utter heaviness, and sometimes that feeling is hard to escape. I think this feeling is something we are all dealing with right now as we navigated uncharted territory due to COVID-19. You’re not alone in feeling a little “off.”

But even before all of this happened, there are days where I feel like I have a million and one things to do, and honestly, there’s just no way I can give 100% to all of them. So I give what I can until it starts to take a toll on me. And then I feel like my relationships become strained, my businesses need me, and the end result is I’ve stopped working out or taking care of myself. I’m a wife, business owner, and mom of four, and I always have someone or something that needs my attention. It never ends.

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I know that I have so many great blessings in my life, but along with those blessings comes a very real reality of feeling stressed and overwhelmed. In being very open and candid, I want to share eleven things that help me combat my own feelings of stress, things that help me see the light at the end of the tunnel and ultimately pull me from my rut to get me back on my feet and feeling like myself again.

Top Tips for Stress Management

Just Keep Moving

When I walk in the door and my kids are yelling for me, or when I walk into a business meeting and multiple people are asking for my attention with a project, I sometimes freeze. Instead, I’ve learned to tell myself to “just keep moving.” Just do something.

Even if it’s as small as putting a dirty fork in the sink, any little thing will help. Because the second I stop completely is the second I struggle and bury myself deeper into a hole. If I’m able to focus on even the smallest of tasks, it helps me continue pushing forward with whatever is awaiting me.

Give Yourself Permission to Feel Overwhelmed

Guys, it’s okay to not feel okay. Oftentimes, when we feel overwhelmed, we tend to feel alone because everyone else is seemingly doing great, and that is NOT okay. It’s okay to struggle. It’s okay to feel stressed. It’s even okay to call a time-out to take care of ourselves the best way we can. We need to give ourselves permission to feel this way, otherwise, we’ll feel like we’re walking around broken while everyone else is whole and complete. But here’s a valuable lesson I’ve learned: Every single person on this earth has cracks. But it’s the cracks in our surface that allow the light inside, and it’s the cracks that allow us to grow and shine. So know that it’s okay to not be okay, just don’t make it a habit of staying there.

Remember to Breathe

When I start to feel myself spiraling into stress or feeling overwhelmed, I begin to think about things in the past that I can’t change or things in the future that haven’t even happened yet. And then I worry. One of the best things to do is to just stop and take ten deep breaths. For me, personally, I usually find myself near tears by breath number four. But that’s okay. That’s a cue that I need to keep breathing and let all those emotions out, to give myself permission to feel those feelings like I mentioned above. It ends up being a beautiful release and leaves me feeling more centered and able to move on and focus on the things I can control.

Take an Emotional Time-Out

Whatever it is you’re doing, allow yourself time to break free from that task. Whether you pick up a book or flip on the TV for ten minutes to just get your mind thinking about something else, do it. You can even get on social media, as long as it doesn’t turn into a black hole of endless scrolling. Take an emotional time-out and distance yourself from whatever is causing you stress. Doing so will allow you to return to the task with fresh eyes and a fresh perspective.

Take a Physical Time-Out

This is really important because when we work out, our body releases endorphins and hormones that make us feel good. But a very real reality is when we’re stressed or overwhelmed, often the last thing we want to do is exercise. Because who has time for that?! I’m so, so guilty of this myself. When I feel like the world is crashing down on me, I tend to work toward helping everyone else—everyone else EXCEPT myself. The very thought of going to the gym just feels like too much, but I’m telling you, it’s those tasks that give us the most fear that are often the ones we should be doing the most. I promise that once you do it, you’ll be so happy you did. And keep in mind that a workout doesn’t have to be an hour. You can do four rounds of tabata, or any other short at-home workout. Just do something to get your body moving and those endorphins pumping.

Connect with Nature

This has been so life-changing for me. About five months ago, Chris started taking a few minutes every night to step outside and ground himself. Sometimes he does this by lying on the ground and sometimes just by digging his feet into the earth and rooting himself with nature. He’s been telling me to give it a try, and of course, I kept insisting I didn’t have time. Until I made time. Lately, I’ve been combining my physical time-outs with connecting with nature, and I’ve been going on sunset jogs. It has honestly opened my eyes and changed my life. Connecting with the sunshine, the mountains, and the cacti—it’s all just so beautiful to feel the energy of my surroundings.

Be Beneficially Selfish

Chris and I talk about this a lot in our teachings, but it’s so dang important to be beneficially selfish. Think about it like this: When you’re on an airplane, and they’re giving you the safety instructions before takeoff, what do they tell you? They tell you that in case of an emergency, an oxygen mask will drop down in front of you, and that you should put yours on before helping anyone else, right?! WHY IS THAT? It’s because you are not able to help anyone else if you can’t first help yourself.

As a mom of four, I struggle with this. The mom guilt pours in, and the spouse guilt pours in, and I always feel like it’s my job as a mom to sacrifice for my family—their needs before my own. But you know what? That doesn’t do my family any good. If I’m not stopping to make sure I’m okay, how can I adequately take care of their needs? I have to put the guilt aside, and I have to stop caring about what other people might think. When I truly take care of myself, people will notice that I’m happier, I’m lighter, and I’m more willing and able to help others when they need it. But I have to stop draining myself first.

Pray or Meditate

Praying to a higher power or meditating in your head and manifesting what you want in life can make all the difference. Just give it five minutes a day. Just you and the energy around you. I honestly don’t do this as often as I should, but when I do, I notice that I feel centered and more focused on what’s important to me. It helps me separate my true purpose in life from the “extras” that just don’t matter.

Connect with Someone

Taking time to connect with people is a great thing to do when we feel stressed. I know when I’m overwhelmed, I tell myself I just don’t have time for people, but when I make the time, it makes all the difference. Even if it’s a quick phone call with my mom to talk about my issues, or her issues, or to even just share a laugh over something silly, those few minutes of connecting with another individual give me the energy I need to keep going and to pull me out from my rut.

Create a Small List You Can Accomplish

I do this every single time I’m overwhelmed. If I have 700 things to do, I will literally make a list of five of the easiest tasks imaginable, just so I have something to cross off my list. I’m not kidding! My list could include tasks like making my bed, brushing my teeth, or putting away the cups.

When I create a list of items that are so easy to achieve, and then I physically cross those items off my to-do list, I feel so accomplished that it makes tackling the bigger projects seem that much more attainable.

Practice Gratitude

It’s really easy to get caught up in all the daily activities that we forget to feel grateful for what we have. I know that I have moments where I get like this. And please don’t get me wrong, I do know how blessed I am. But that doesn’t mean that I walk around feeling chipper 100% of the time. When I notice I’m starting to get lost in the shuffle, I’ll grab my gratitude journal and write down five things I’m grateful for. This allows me to really stop and think about my blessings and why they mean so much to me. Putting forth the effort of writing them down helps me become more invested in those thoughts of gratitude and happiness, and it brings out all those positive emotions that help me feel more centered and at peace.

Whew. So that’s a lot, I know. And trust me, the last thing I want to do is overwhelm you with a list of things to do when you’re already feeling overwhelmed. But these are my tried-and-true tricks that help me when life is throwing lemons my way. What are some of your best ways to relieve stress?! Comment on them below!

xo,

Related reading:

Power up Your Day with These 6 Energy-Boosting Tips!
Changing the Way We Think About Stress
When In Doubt, Write it Out: How Journaling Impacts Transformation and Weight Loss
The Art of Saying NO! My 5 Tips for Saying “Nope” in Business + Life
The Procrastinator’s Guide to Transforming Your Time Management Skills